top: 2px; padding-right: 5px; font-family: times;”>While every client at The Antiques Diva™ European Shopping Tours is special, this summer I had the opportunity to travel with an extraordinary client – my 16 year old niece, Tessa! On her first European adventure I initiated her into The Antiques Diva™ Lifestyle by taking her to my favorite French flea market in Paris – Marché aux Puces de Vanves.
One of the things I love most about my job leading travelers around the flea markets of Europe is what my clients teach me as they introduce me to their passions and collections! Each client inevitably is unique – with a different interest, different hobby and different collections they’re looking to add to while out and about, shopping in the European flea markets. My 16 year old niece was no exception! With her pink head pulsing thru the market, vendors simply adored her, pointing out perfect Parisian pink treasures for her to take home. Ever the fashion plate, she picked up this gorgeous 1960’s French silk gown (above) shortly after we arrived at the flea market for a mere 36Euro. It fit as if it were made for her and a few days later she wore it to lunch at Café Marly nearby the Louvre!
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She also fell head over heels for these vintage French frames at 12 Euro and sported them around Europe for the next month!
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Of course, she was crazy for this Daisy Necklace picking it up for a friend as a souvenir de Paris for 6Euro!
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I’m not certain whether it was she or me who noticed the stuffed camel first – but we knew that it said exotic travel décor with a 20 E price tag!
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She decided against buying this Charlie Chaplin hat for 30E but was sorely tempted by it!
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In general, the French hats were of great interest and we spent a good 30 minutes digging thru this box where all the hats were marked 10E or less!
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But perhaps the catch that got away was the magnifying glass paperweight. We decided against purchasing it at 45E, but in retrospect perhaps we should have! Where else could she have been framed so perfectly in Paris?
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After all that hard work shopping, we were ready for a break. So we hit a local café to have a Diablo Fraise! A Diablo Fraise is a typical drink you’d order on a sunny day in Paris – it’s carbonated lemonade with strawberry syrup that just so happened to match Tessa’s perfectly pink hair!
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When the waiter noticed this, he decided that Tessa would make an ideal art installation on the Parisian streets! And he artfully arranged colored straws in her hair!
Tell me – where else but Paris would a waiter make you into street art?
From time to time I’ve had clients on Diva Tours tell me that their teenage sons and daughters wouldn’t be interested in antique shopping, preferring instead to antique/vintage shop solo. But I have to tell you, my 16 year old niece loved the Paris Flea Market! Tessa found nearly ever souvenir she purchased in Paris at the Porte de Vanves Flea Market – so for your next trip abroad, forget the typical souvenir t-shirts when shopping for a teenager in Paris, consider instead vintage fashion and fun French antique accessories!
The Antiques Diva™
(seen right with The Little Diva – Tessa at the top of the Tour Eiffel)
Located in the 14eme arrondisment at the avenue Marc Sangnier and avenue Georges Lafenestre, “The Other Paris Flea Market” is located near the Porte de Vanves metro stop. to 10px; width: 297px; height: 299px; text-align: center;” src=”http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/TMmeF3wx9TI/AAAAAAAAFMk/fi9G1RyBV9o/s400/Picture1.jpg” border=”0″ alt=”” />The market is open year round e
very Saturday and Sunday from 8am to 1pm – though experience tells me vendors aren’t really ready for customers until 9am, so take advantage of a “late start” and sleep an extra hour before shopping the fleas!
Bonne Shopping, Diva Style!
top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>My mother taught me to never say an unkind word and my blog is filled with praises of fabulous people I’ve met, great antique shops and boutiques I’ve discovered on my European travels and gushes about gorgeous European flea markets. In my blog I try to give advice on places that are diva-worthy, where you should stop, shop and drop your dough on fabulous European antiques and vintage items. And it occurred to me that if my objective in writing a blog about European Antique Shopping is to save you time on your travels so you can go straight to the fab places, then shouldn’t it hold true that if someplace is utterly NOT FAB that I should also advise when it’s best to skip the market so you can move on to better and brighter baubles? I for one hate wasting time when I travel – and that’s why I’m revealing what I think are the worst flea markets in Europe. And while this might sound like blasphemy coming from me, there are way too many wonderful things worth doing in Prague to waste time at the main flea market!
to 10px; WIDTH: 400px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 300px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/TMLxXWhVhVI/AAAAAAAAFKM/zO7_zZAj0wY/s400/worst+flea+markets+europe+prague.jpg” border=”0″ />Before traveling to Prague on my most recent trip, I scoured the internet looking for hints and tips on flea markets in Prague and found a great article in the NY Times titled Affordable Prague. While I love champagne and fancy hotels, I also love a bargain (in fact, I need those bargains in order to fuel the champagne obsession) so I was utterly intrigued to visit Prague’s main blesi trh, or flea market, which runs every Saturday and Sunday from 6 a.m. until 1 p.m. It was a hike from our hotel across town on the Metro line B to Kolbenova, but never one to wimp out when shopping opportunities await I was up for the challenge. Fortunately, my traveling companions (my husband and niece) were equally pumped for the journey.
to 10px; WIDTH: 300px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 400px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/TMLxXo6RfRI/AAAAAAAAFKU/pVIxRhI3vlg/s400/worst+flea+markets+europe+prague2.jpg” border=”0″ />Stepping out at Kolbenova I got a similar vibe as I do in Paris at the Porte de Clignancourt in Paris – you know that sensation where you tighten the grip on your purse and try to avoid eye contact with the hoards of suspiciously lingering people. I was non-plused that this market was not in a posh locale – in fact, the less posh the market often the better the bargains found. Furthermore this seemed to be part boot sale, and I love a good garage sale! I was certain that this was where the real Czech bargains were going to be found. A fellow Oklahoman brocanter, owner of the Tulsa-based company French Finds, explained to me in an email recently that her husband describes her French flea marketing tactics this way, “If there are not stacks of used tires and cages of live chickens at the entrance to the flea market, it is too upscale for my wife!” With this same sentiment in mind I was practically salivating over the bargains we were about to discover.
to 10px; WIDTH: 400px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 300px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/TMLxqjlVgMI/AAAAAAAAFKk/3SO2oax2QAM/s400/worst+flea+markets+europe+prague+3.jpg” border=”0″ />Smelling a bargain, I skipped around the market, finding the requisite number of used tires and auto parts, an assortment of broken dolls, used clothes and household rubbish. Amidst the rubble, there were a handful of stalls that were diamonds in the rough. I stopped initially to inquire on these charming miniature musical instruments, thinking they had seriously cute decorative display potential.
to 10px; WIDTH: 400px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 300px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/TMLxWUsxVVI/AAAAAAAAFJ0/krYoGzD1n2g/s400/Prague+flea+market.jpg” border=”0″ />The price per item clocked in at over 200E/$230 each when converted from local currency. Thinking perhaps my currency calculations were off, I plunged ahead. “What about the vintage porcelain pitcher?” I inquired.
to 10px; WIDTH: 400px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 300px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/TMLxWgfewnI/AAAAAAAAFJ8/ZRNL34j8E9E/s400/prague+flea+market2.jpg” border=”0″ />Again the vendor came back with a ridiculously high price. Thinking perhaps that it was all in the negotiation, I came back with a counter offer less than half his original asking price to get the feel of the game. The vendor shrugged and walked away.
At the next vendor I tried a new tactic. His prices were readily marked – the pale blue military hat – an ideal “mantique” – was marked 500 CZK or 20 Euro which is a very reasonable price by Western European standards. I pulled 400 Koruny from my pocket, deciding to take the direct approach – why dicker over prices – I’ll show the vendor the cold hard cash when I make my offer. This time I wasn’t asking for a major discount but in the spirit of flea marketing knew that a discount was in order.
to 10px; WIDTH: 400px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 300px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/TMLxW2QXKCI/AAAAAAAAFKE/QaebCI7Aag4/s400/prague+flea+market+3.jpg” border=”0″ />The vendor responded with a surprised exclamation, “Clearly the hat has been mispriced” and explained there was no way he could sell the item for this price. It was a steal at 1000 Koruny, he said, which was double the price marked. Now simply curious if the vendor would keep to the originally quoted 500 CZK I reluctantly added 100 Koruny to the pile. “750 CZK” the vendor countered as I walked away from the negotiation.
Now, this is a cold hard fact of flea marketing in foreign countries – sometimes, but not always, having an American accent can be a negative when it comes to negotiations. Americans have a bit of a reputation of spending money and being willing to pay higher prices, which is why I often shop with a local when flea marketing in foreign countries. I let them speak on my behalf, doing the negotiation for me! Having lived in Europe over a decade and having flea marketed in over 30 countries, I consider myself a Flea Marketing Expert, plundering literally thousands of flea markets across the globe. But at Prague’s main blesi trh I had met my match. The Antiques Diva™ faced defeat in Prague and I walked out of the market empty handed. In retrospect, I would have rather spent my tourist time visiting the Royal Palace.
to 10px; WIDTH: 300px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 400px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/TMLzLr9boCI/AAAAAAAAFK0/W5R6RM3n6m0/s400/Picture1.jpg” border=”0″ />If the quality of the inventory had been better, the locale slightly less depressing – apparently this flea market didn’t get the news bulletin that the cold war was over – or even if the food vendors had seemed remotely hygienic, I would not be writing today’s review listing the Prague Flea Market as among the Worst Flea Markets in Europe.
On a score of 1 to 10 – 10 being the best flea markets in Europe and 1 being the worst – Prague’s blesi trh scored a 2.5. Why so high you ask? I gave them an extra point for having a few booths with potential at the market and I believe had I not been American or had I had a Czech scout with me I might have come home with something special – a beautiful souvenir of my journey.
To see a fabulous place to shop for Czech antiques and vintage items in Prague instead of this flea market, visit “Bric a Brac” in Prague!
P.S. On my next trip to Prague I’ll be visiting a much larger market, Bustehrad Antik which the NY Times explains, “takes place every two weeks in a village 12 miles northwest of the city, with direct buses leaving from metro stations Dejvicka and Zlicin.” If anyone has any information and photos on this market write to me. I’d love a scout to shop with on my Prague Flea Marketing Journey in the Spring!
top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>Often blog readers write and ask me for travel advice – they ask for hints and tips of diva-worthy and luxe outings to do while criss-crossing Europe. Today I thought I would share with you one of my favorite Sunday afternoon excursions when I’m at home in Berlin. I love nothing more than taking tea at the Hotel Adlon located on the famous Unter den Linden nearby Brandenburg Gate, The Jewish Memorial, a hop skip and jump away from the Reichstag and mere blocks from my Mitte alt-bau apartment. This famous 5-star hotel is rich in history!
For tourists in Berlin, the lobby of the Hotel Adlon is an excellent place to take a break – be it for coffee, tea or cocktails – while out touring the city or as you’re entering and exiting the hotel from your room upstairs. Ensconced in luxe-surroundings you can imagine Berlin as it used to be…and people-watch indeed. You never know when you’re going to see a celebrity! Remember when I bumped into Bono at the Hotel Adlon last year? And just a few months ago I saw the entire crew from Ghost Writer as they hopped into their chauffeured cars for the Berlinale film festival! And remember that infamous scene when Michael Jackson dangled his son out one of the hotel’s windows during a visit in 2002? You never know who or what you’ll see at the Adlon! In fact, keep your eye out for me – it’s one of my favorite locale haunts!
to 10px; WIDTH: 300px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 400px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/S22zjkUNUpI/AAAAAAAAEL4/UEQINl-px80/s400/Prague.JPG” border=”0″ />top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>Did you enjoy the pictures I posted on Saturday, sharing my Diva-scovery in Prague- the antique/vintage/knick-knack shop called Bric-a-Brac? If you enjoyed that sneak-peek into one of my favorite shops in Prague, I thought you might also enjoy a “Travelogue: A Peek into Prague!”
Having toured this city before during our Eastern European vacation, we didn’t return to some of our favorite Prague tourist sites such as going inside Prague Castle or wandering through the Old Jewish Cemetary. We’ll be back again in Prague again this summer when my niece Tessa visits us in Europe for her 16th birthday (too-long-apart.html” target=”_blank”>following in the footsteps of her older brother who visited a few years ago for his 16th) and when re-visiting Prague with her we’ll return to these historical sites.
On this visit, my husband and I were in need of a little R&R; (Romance and Recuperation) after a busy start to the year and our long weekend was spent meandering Old Town, crisscrossing the Charles Bridge and dipping into wine bars and breweries for conversations over candle light.
to 10px; WIDTH: 300px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 400px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/S22zPWJP0AI/AAAAAAAAELA/n_Cb9BxwNcY/s400/037.JPG” border=”0″ />And we sat in a café on the Old Town Square – known locally as the town-square” target=”_blank”>Staromestske Namesti – enjoying a burst of unexpected autumn sunlight while admiring the lovely white façade of St. Nicholas Church gleaming in the corner of the square.
to 10px; WIDTH: 300px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 400px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/S22zPtUJpzI/AAAAAAAAELI/RngQ0eRFogQ/s400/039.JPG” border=”0″ />As we strolled the streets, I was completely smitten with the posters advertising upcoming events in Prague. These posters were works of art in themselves.
to 10px; WIDTH: 400px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 300px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/S22zkefEcgI/AAAAAAAAEMI/0sM_Ai7ENdc/s400/Prague+at+night.JPG” border=”0″ />Night time in Prague was magical, making me feel as if I was in a time warp! The glow made it seem that the street lamps were lit by gas and the clip-clop of a tourist carriage behind me reinforced the step back in time.
to 10px; WIDTH: 400px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 300px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/S224efCtvaI/AAAAAAAAEMg/P2Zp7Lh38q8/s400/091.JPG” border=”0″ />While searching for dinner one night, we stumbled upon a restaurant with an excellent selection of fish and seafood, but we were turned away for not having a reservation.
to 10px; WIDTH: 400px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 300px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/S22zQMdpdSI/AAAAAAAAELQ/unJ2qgN0smc/s400/097.JPG” border=”0″ />Instead, we decided to go someplace more local – more authentically Czech – U Medvidku, a pension/Budvar pub/brewery!
to 10px; WIDTH: 400px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 300px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/S22zQ7O1rQI/AAAAAAAAELY/aGqvAi460vo/s400/105.JPG” border=”0″ />tosayin.com/say/czech/mr+and+mrs.html” target=”_blank”>Pane (the mister) ordered the Gulas (Goulash) while I settled upon Potato Pancakes for tosayin.com/say/czech/mr+and+mrs.html” target=”_blank”>Pani! This experience at the brewery reminded me that during our last trip to Prague, we passed a long afternoon in U Fleku, the city’s oldest brewing pub, famous for its dark lager and musicians. U Medvidku didn’t disappoint, the beer hall atmosphere was jovial and the musicians added a festive flair to our night!
to 10px; WIDTH: 400px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 300px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/S224eDqkVjI/AAAAAAAAEMY/aV2zG0sVOHs/s400/109.JPG” border=”0″ />While we were wandering around this city, we happened upon this vibrant art gallery on a corner and the bright colors of the gallery contrasting with the building caught my artists eye. It’s been over a year since I painted and I miss picking up my brush and dabbling in paint. A fire was lit, giving me desire to make time for this hobby again.
to 10px; WIDTH: 400px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 300px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/S22zRPbZkOI/AAAAAAAAELg/4bLxA4HuzQE/s400/172.JPG” border=”0″ />And then on our last day in Prague, we took a quiet Sunday morning stroll along the river Vltava.
to 10px; WIDTH: 300px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 400px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/S22zjU8lXnI/AAAAAAAAELo/YvzEEK7JPfs/s400/179.JPG” border=”0″ />As our time in Prague drew to an end, my husband whispered in my ear, “Is it possible that Prague is more beautiful than Paris?”
to 10px; WIDTH: 400px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 300px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/S22zjUy9BEI/AAAAAAAAELw/x20b7JX8KzQ/s400/197.JPG” border=”0″ />After spending the weekend in Prague, we went to the car park to pay! Oh la la… it’s 1100KC (Czech Republic Koruny) for the weekend –Oh wait, that’s only $60 (USD) or 42 Euro! Whew, saved by the exchange rate!< br />
The Antiques Diva™
P.S. Do you have an itch to travel after pouring through this travelogue? The next best thing to BEING in Europe is SHOPPING in Europe! Visit my online French Brocante, “Treasures” by The Antiques Diva™!!
to 10px; WIDTH: 400px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 300px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/S3hCaU-ne-I/AAAAAAAAEPo/sMw932cRzC0/s400/Cowboy+Diva.jpg” border=”0″ />While I’m in the States, my sister and I try to spend as much time together as possible – we sneak out of her house early in the morning to invade the local Barnes & Noble for coffee and bagels while chatting over a stack of crumb-filled decorating books and magazines. And I follow her as she tends to life with her 6 kids. In some ways we’re as different as night and day: me living in Europe with my cat and no kids and she in Oklahoma, the modern-day (yet exceedingly more hip) Old Mother Hubbard (with piercings and flared blue jeans). But those are just surface details – people can always tell we’re sisters.
to 10px; WIDTH: 400px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 310px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/S3hAC8xm38I/AAAAAAAAEPI/xx6QzN1MyUw/s400/little+diva.jpg” border=”0″ />When I follow her to the grocery store someone inevitably stops us saying, “You MUST be related!”, commenting on the way we both talk with our hands. And one morning while in Starbucks, a woman eavesdropping from the next table sputters, “It’s like watching someone talk to themselves in a mirror!” adding “You’re both so excited!”. And most recently, when we walked into a printing company to view a sample copy of the local monthly art journal my sister edits, the guy behind the counter leapt to his feet and yelled, “I never knew you had a sister!”.
to 10px; WIDTH: 400px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 264px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/S3g_1HmClfI/AAAAAAAAEOg/237xDefT_hI/s400/115.JPG” border=”0″ />On my recent trip to the States this December 2009, it seemed my sister was busier than normal – I arrived in the middle of her putting the monthly art publication she edits to bed. It was Art Beat’s annual food issue and she’d decided she wanted to include an article on Oklahoma wineries.
to 10px; WIDTH: 400px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 300px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/S3g_1fgt1XI/AAAAAAAAEOo/mNYo0KYXmxo/s400/128.JPG” border=”0″ />What followed were several hours of perhaps the best wine tour I’ve ever had. My sister confessed she was “almost a wine virgin” and that the few times she had consumed had been with my husband and me when we brought bottles for Christmas dinner. Richard immediately put her to ease, explaining the process, introducing us to what was clearly his favorite subject. He spoke of the science and technology of wine making, and then he spoke of the art in creating the perfect blend. He took us into his work rooms, explaining step-by-step how each process worked. Much of what he said wasn’t new to me – but the way he said it was.
to 10px; WIDTH: 400px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 300px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/S3g_1_70CrI/AAAAAAAAEO4/XiQkhhDrnsI/s400/Antiques+Diva+in+Europe.JPG” border=”0″ />Since moving to Europe my husband and I have visited countless wineries and done literally thousands of wine tastings, but what moved me about the tour of Tres Suenos Vineyard was the lack of pretentiousness, the grace and humility in which Richard Kennedy spoke of wine. This was a man who enjoyed the grape. It wasn’t about buying the most expensive bottle or making sure the bottle had the right label on it. He educated us, and explained terms in the most simplistic manner, answering questions I’d been afraid to ask in snootier vineyards and he made those questions seem like they weren’t the least bit silly. When we moved onto the wine tasting with Colleen, she spoke passionately about her own wine conversion, explaining how she hadn’t been into wine until recent years and she shared cooking tips as my sister and I sipped our way through 11 Tres Suenos wines.
to 10px; WIDTH: 400px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 300px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/S3g_1jgVkcI/AAAAAAAAEOw/dhxmfuELXLE/s400/134.JPG” border=”0″ />As we were finishing up the wine tasting, I noticed that Tres Suenos was offering a Group Tour to Italy this May 2010. Having just spent an afternoon stateside in Richard’s company, I knew undoubtedly that to visit the wineries of Italy with him would be a trip of a lifetime! And I wanted to share the trip details with my readers so they too could have an opportunity to learn wine, down-home-style, with Richard Kennedy and Tres Suenos Winery!
Tres Suenos Winery – Vineyards of Italy Tour!
May 15-23, 2010
to 10px; WIDTH: 400px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 300px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/S3hADeGZZ9I/AAAAAAAAEPY/U-8B14-z0NY/s400/Grapes_red704.jpg” border=”0″ />2 nights in Alba
2 nights in Treviso
1 day in Venice
½ day in Florence
½ day in Chianti
2 nights in Rome
For more information, contact Tres Suenos Winery:
Tres Suenos Website
The Antiques Diva™
top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>Today’s blog post comes to you from my Name Twin! A “Name Twin” is someone who has the same first name as you do. If you’re named Lisa, or Elizabeth, Amy or Jessica, finding others who share your name might be old hat, but when you have an unusual, somewhat bizarre, first name like I do it’s an utter surprise (and delight) when you find another person with your same first name! Though you know me by “The Diva”, in real life my first name is Toma and so when a few years ago I crossed paths with another girl from Oklahoma named Toma who happened to be as antiques-obsessed as me, I knew we were destined to become friends.
Over the past few years we’ve emailed regularly – tomas-and-round-top-texas-antiques.html” target=”_blank”>The Two Toma’s going back and forth, modern day pen pals and it’s been such a pleasure. Last year The Other Toma and I had a chance to meet face-to-face and we couldn’t stop gabbing!! But before I babble on, let me stop and turn this blog post over to The Other Toma – we’ll let her tell you our story!
So Ta Ta from this girl named Toma (aka The Antiques Diva) and Hello from My Name Twin Toma, author of toriancobweb.blogspot.com/” target=”_blank”>Victorian Cobweb!
to 10px; WIDTH: 400px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 88px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SxjRDYtMNoI/AAAAAAAAD6E/v7-QmY6FQMo/s400/victorianblogbfbloggbanner.jpg” border=”0″ />Did you know that the International Pen Friends actually started in Sweden in the 1920’s, came to the USA and was promoted at the 1933 World’s Fair with Parker Pens and resurfaced in the 60’s as Pen Pals? I didn’t know this until recently and I am continually surprised & interested in what one can find on the internet. I love clicking my way through the internet, discovering one history then another, with one story leading to something else like antique Parker Pens. For me, this is how history is learned and interests are formed, collections are started, and friends are made.
to 10px; WIDTH: 129px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 200px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SxjRC2Y2xbI/AAAAAAAAD50/bRi8e3Din-A/s400/the+two+tomas.jpg” border=”0″ />I got the chance to meet my “21st Century Pen Pal” (my term for a pen pal via internet e-mail) this past holiday season and am looking forward to reconnecting in person this Dec 2009. As those who follow the wonderful blog of The Antiques Diva knows, she is my “name twin”. And that’s how this whole thing came about – our name – Toma.
to 10px; WIDTH: 316px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 400px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SxjQ6ZRn4gI/AAAAAAAAD5k/IWGMfXPvuEU/s400/boot.gif” border=”0″ />About 2 or 3 years ago she was in my home town visiting her family and she happened by a little boot store that I pitch in to help on occasion and saw a Christmas stocking with her/my name written on it! Too cool she thought, and for those of you who actually know the Diva know that in her wonderful bubbly-inquisitive-outgoing Diva self had to find out who it was that had her name! So she left a card with the proprietor for me (come to find out she rarely has her calling cards on her person – so clearly her remembering her cards meant we were fated to meet) and the next thing I knew I was emailing her. The whole block (all friends of mine) was abuzz with the “other” Toma as I came to find out a day or two after her shopping trip – everyone was asking and telling me about this young woman visiting from Europe with my name!
to 10px; WIDTH: 400px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 321px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SxjQ6jV17DI/AAAAAAAAD5s/xu3yjyvU5GI/s400/europe.jpg” border=”0″ />So for the past 2 years we have kept up a steady email campaign back and forth – learning about what makes the other Toma tick and along the way finding out that there are numerous similarities in our lives besides our given names. In the meantime I have learned about a lifestyle (what she calls “expat life”) and I’ve been exposed to all sorts of things I had never had reason to think about before! Since meeting the Diva, I learned about geography in a way that my school teachers never taught, numerous other things along the way, but the most important thing is I gained a wonderful friend!
to 10px; WIDTH: 400px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 286px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SxjRDIF5HwI/AAAAAAAAD58/XQQ8c14j1-U/s400/tomas+tuplip+vase.jpg” border=”0″ />This past Christmas 2008 we were fortunate to meet each other and we’re already looking forward to our Dec 2009 encounter! The Diva last year was living in The Netherlands and upon meeting she brought me a beautiful present from Holland! She gave me a Dutch tulip vase and I delved into studying it. As soon as the first blossom appeared (it wasn’t a tulip, but I was so excited to use my vase I couldn’t wait), I plucked the beautiful yellow daffodils that dot the old homesteads and landscapes here.
to 10px; WIDTH: 337px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 400px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/Sx1QAjajcsI/AAAAAAAAD7E/CVxA10v8em4/s400/Dutch_flag.gif” border=”0″ />When we met, The Diva recanted a bit of history about the Tulip industry in Holland and the odd little Tulip Vases that I thought was fascinating and right up my alley as I love a little bit of history, mystery, intrigue and of course an antique. So, I went to the internet for a bit more information and was surprised at what I found!
to 10px; WIDTH: 400px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 267px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/Sx1QA_Hr-hI/AAAAAAAAD7M/PcNb2ZLSPow/s400/tulip%2520bulbs.jpg” border=”0″ />In the early 16th Century (which would be the 1500’s) the Tulips came to the Netherlands by way of Turkey and as such they were very expensive. This led to greed and theft of the exotic flower bulbs which in turn fueled Holland’s tulip industry for years to come. This inspired the Dutch potters to make very special multi-spouted vases just for the prized blooms. Only one of the vases pictured below is an antique but all are unique. Enjoy!
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DeWit Unica Delftware at Dutch Village Shopping
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Web Gallery of Art
1690’s Royal Collection, Hampton Court
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Fun and whimsical vase.
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Tulip vase Piet
Thanks for letting me guest blog!
The Other Toma,
* Dutch flag pic courtesy of www.kindergartenteacher.info and the tulip bulbs pic is from www.insidesocal.com
top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>If you’re anywhere near Texas this November 8th, you need to high-tail it to Houston!!! On Sunday, November 8th 2009 you’re invited to the ton.com/home” target=”_blank”>Extraordinary Urban Market in Houston!
to 10px; WIDTH: 226px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 185px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SuW85nAIi6I/AAAAAAAADrY/PUFC4evJQLE/s400/urbanmarket6.jpg” border=”0″ />to 10px; WIDTH: 266px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 400px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SuW8WsP8_vI/AAAAAAAADqw/y5OqYkp-Q_M/s400/urbanmarket.jpg” border=”0″ />Going into its fifth year, The Urban Market Houston has become THE TEXAN event for dealers as well as bargain hunters who are looking to spend a day outdoors looking through tents filled with incredible antiques and treasures! The ever-charming Jackie Sharbrough has organized an amazing assembly of antique dealers for each of the three Urban Markets throughout the year. The dealers come from all over the USA and each has their own specialty with merchandise to die for. The market has the feel of a Paris flea market – Texan Style – with the tents and big wide grassy walkways.
to 10px; WIDTH: 266px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 400px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SuW8XZSMYBI/AAAAAAAADrQ/92Gxqp89RPg/s400/urbanmarket5.jpg” border=”0″ />to 10px; WIDTH: 266px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 400px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SuW8XI4cjII/AAAAAAAADrA/3iAQmP8rtqU/s400/UrbanMarket3.jpg” border=”0″ />You’ll want to sign up to join The Urban Market’s mailing list as this event is held 3 times a year and you’ll want to stay in the loop to learn when the next event will be held! Each February, May, and November vendors have one day – and one day only – to move all sorts of interesting objects, antiques, artwork, designer & decorators collections! A walk through the ton.com/the_antique_dealers” target=”_blank”>dealers list guarantees that this is a high-end, Houston-styled flea market, and I’m certain you won’t be disappointed! Some of the vendors have shopped throughout Europe for years and each stall is guaranteed to be filled with oodles of antique home and garden items! Food lovers will not be disappointed with the terrific variety and selection of sandwiches, salads, cheeses, oven-fresh breads, sweets, Katz’s iced coffee, and even Pimento Cheese Spread. The Urban Market Houston has become an all-day event with “early birds” lined up looking for the booth number of their favorite vendors. The gate is $5 – children get in free.
to 10px; WIDTH: 400px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 266px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SuW853d9gGI/AAAAAAAADrg/yjTH5JGGn6g/s400/urbanmarket7.jpg” border=”0″ />So, put the date on your calendar, call a friend and sneak out early Sunday morning, November 8th. For ton.com/map___contact_information” target=”_blank”>map & contact information, see website.
Find of the Day!
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Wouldn’t this garden wagon be sensational as a funky coffee table?
Imagine the rustic as home décor!
2) I’m so obsessed with décor because if my surroundings are unattractive it makes me physically and mentally ill. We have 1 junk room in our house that gives me a headache when I enter it…. However this one junk room allows the rest of the space to be seamless. Did you ever see the Friends episode where Chandler discovers Monica’s junk closet? That’s my junk room!
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Photo: view from my kitchen into living room
4) I got married at the age of 22, two weeks after graduating university! He was 24! We’ve been married 13 years (and together 17) which means I am 35 and for the first time in my life I’m starting to feel old. Next year, he and I will have been together half my life – the best half of my life! Some people struggle with age at 29 or 30, 32 or 35 – for me, it hit me last month at 35 ½. I’m hoping this sensation of age is a passing one. On the bright side, most of my friends are older than me… so no matter how old I get, I’ll always be the younger friend!
5) My goal is to someday have multiple homes – a pied-a-terre in Paris, a small foothold in Italy, something in Belgium – a central base for my Antiques Diva Tour Business (and more importantly for basing our tax status out of) and another in Oklahoma to be near my family whenever I’m home-sick. Hmmm, I’d also like a gorgeous beach house in Thailand for getting away from it all and to be an Asian base.
6) My top 5 favorite foods in the world are 1. Foie Gras with Toast and Fig Confiture, 2. French Fries, 3. Gigantic American Salads, 4. Lemon Gelato 5.French Cheese Courses (served with a salad). I am obsessed with asparagus season, eating it daily while it’s on sale in the markets. I also love cherry tomatoes and rarely does a day go by without me eating a salad for either lunch, dinner or a first course. Once a year I get a craving for a big fat juicy American cheeseburger – and this craving must be met or else. While in general I prefer European cuisine, the “American” food I miss most while living abroad is “Mexican”.
7) I’ve designed my life so that champagne will be a regular part of it. I always keep a bottle chilling “just in case” the impulse hits – as nothing makes an ordinary day more special than a bottle of bubbly.
8) I’ve read every night before bed my entire life. I’m currently reading Lifeguard by James Patterson, just finished When We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro and the next two books waiting on my side table are Irving Stone’s 1961 best seller about the life of Michelangelo – The Agony and Ecstasy, and Philippa Gregory’s The Other Queen telling the tale of Mary Queen of Scots.
9) I don’t watch much television – and WG watches even less than me! We are both readers, retiring in the evenings to the library to read with a glass of port in hand – though I must confess, I might have majored in English literature in university, but WG is a more intelligent reader than I am. He’s currently working his way through anything written by an American expat in the 1920’s and 30’s and as of late, he’s been channeling Fitzgerald and Hemingway. Last week in Italy he even bought an ascot. We moved to Berlin a little over 3 months ago, and I still haven’t went to the store to buy the cable cord to hook up our TV to the cable outlet even though cable is provided free in our apartment.
10) I’m currently writing a novel in my spare time. I’ve written over 100 pages and am going strong. Just last week, I came up with an idea for a follow-up novel when I finish this one. I know it’s cliché, but I’m writing my novel fro
m the Starbucks on the Freiderichstrasse nearby my home in Berlin. I find when working on this book I need a change of scenery, so Starbucks has become my novel-writing office. I sit with a caramel macchiato in hand, me and my laptop for hours on end. I know this is Europe and I should not be frequenting Starbucks, but Starbuck’s wifi access and central location, cliché or not, win over Berlin authenticity and ambiance.
Now, I challenge you – can you tell me 10 things about YOU!?!!
Until next time,
The Antiques Diva™
Photo: taken last week at a stopover for dinner in Bellagio Italy
Follow The Antiques Diva on Twitter!!
A Diva Reader is Searching for a 1950’s Parfait Glass Like This:
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I’ve got a challenge for you. This weekend I received an email from an Antiques Diva Reader who inquired:
top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>Do you, in your wisdom and with your keen eye, know if we can find a 1950’s parfait glass to replace one that is broken and is part of an art work? It has to be straight sided and exactly like the one in the photo (above photos show the broken stem), but do not worry about the color – it is paint. I do not know if you take inquiries but your website is intriguing.
Liparini Art Restoration
Can you help this reader? If so, leave a comment or email firstname.lastname@example.org or go straight to Jane at email@example.com
We are qualified and experienced conservators specializing in the treatment of objects, sculpture and paintings. We both trained in Europe and work for most of the museums in Chicago and many private collectors in Illinois, Michigan and Indiana.
We are based at 823 Main St, Evanston IL USA.
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top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>I noticed in my recent Antique Week paper something that your Diva Readers/shopping tour clients will be interested in attending. The Brussels Antiques and Fine Arts Fair will be later this month! It looks like it will be great – the article quotes:
“BRAFA will truly feature a more international flavor in 2009 – two American galleries – Sophie Scheidecker Fine Art from New York and topDefault.aspx?tabid=10&tabindex=9&dealerid=9246&curidx=0&back=name” target=”_blank”>Tony Anninos Asian Art from California – will have a presence among its 18 new exhibitors, as well as galleries from Hungary and Russia will make their debut.”
Fair dates are Jan. 23 – Feb. 1, 2009 daily from 11am to 7pm and will be held in Brussels at the Tour & Taxis building, avenue du Port 86 C/ B – 1000 Brussels. Late nights opening Monday 26th January 2009 until 9.00pm and Thursday 29 January 2009 until 10.30pm. Admission is 20E per person.
It sounds like this fair is going international in a big way. From the article it sounds like it is going to be a great fair – one that doesn’t need to be missed! Another source writes that BRAFA, “reaffirms its respected eclectic position in the heart of Europe. From the centuries-old everyday objects to the most prestigious masterpieces, visiting this antiques fair offers an unforgettable view of the incredible skills of craftsmen and artists of the past… In a way, it is a real “temporary museum” which opens every time, appealing to the eyes and sensibilities of all discerning visitors.”
Your Name Twin,
Toma at toriancobweb.blogspot.com/” target=”_blank”>Victorian Cobweb